Chew to debut in invite-only Asian Cup
Southpaw selected for prestigious invite-only tournament
At 20, Singapore table tennis player Clarence Chew has already won two men's singles bronze medals at the South-east Asia Games and a team gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
He's also competed at several World Championships, including this year's edition in Malaysia two months ago.
Next week the southpaw will mark a first in his career by competing in the invitation-only Asian Cup in Dubai.
The annual men's and women's singles tournament sees the defending champion, the world's top 11 Asian paddlers and four sub-continental representatives make up the field.
"I am humbled and quite excited to be able to participate because all the best players in Asia will be there," the Singapore Sports School graduate said yesterday.
"Preparations are going well; I am training pretty well and I have also watched videos to analyse my opponents."
Chew was nominated by the South-east Asia Table Tennis Association because of his "good performances".
According to Singapore Table Tennis Association senior high-performance manager Eddy Tay, they took into account more than just competition results.
A maximum of two paddlers per nation will take part in the tournament, with Gao Ning, women's defending champion Feng Tianwei and teammate Yu Mengyu also doing battle for Singapore next week.
While Pang Xuejie's defeat of Japanese world No. 15 Koki Niwa was a highlight at the World Team Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Chew's performances there caught the eye of several observers.
Men's national coach Liu Jiayi even said that the Chew had the potential to be the leader of the team in the "foreseeable future".
Chew, ranked 168th in the world, said: "I think to play at the top level, I still need to work on a lot of stuff - in terms of technical and physical abilities and my mental strength.
"At the World Championships, at times I would be too eager to perform (when doing well) and made mistakes. Sometimes I need to calm down and take my time to play."
Chew has been inspired by the performances of Pang and Chen Feng.
Chen Feng beat senior players Gao Ning and Li Hu en route to clinching an Olympic men's singles spot at the Asia qualifiers in Hong Kong last week.
Chew is in the running for a place at the Rio Olympics in August, if Gao Ning receives a singles slot via his world ranking.
If Singapore have two representatives in the men's singles, the Republic may be given a third slot for the team event.